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Oh, the week that was. Mosul was invaded by an infighting coalition, Turnbull holstered his vote for guns and Bill Leak faced the HRC.
Welcome to the usual collection of newsworthy tidbittery, worthy of consumption whilst you burn off the doleful memories of last night. This is your Captain (of words) speaking, I’ll be taking over the controls this morning whilst our regular scribe Rob Idol has business to conduct in South East Asia. I tried to get him to come back home and fulfil his responsibilities but it didn’t go well. See below:
Apologies for the bowls of breakfast I just soured. Nonetheless, the week that we’ve endured on a geopolitical front may see us reconcile ourselves with the brutal binary choice made by Christopher Walken above. We’ve seen US-directed forces re-entering Iraq, guns drawn over the politicking around the ABCC bill, and a cartoonist face the Human Rights Commission, before the issue not being discussed.
War, much like fashion, is cyclical. This week the distressed denim fatigues were fished out of the back of the cupboard, as foreign forces once more rolled on Iraq. Led by American advisors (which is historically familiar), a Potemkin coalition of local Iraq forces, Kurdish fighters, assisted by Turkish aircraft, the target was Mosul; the goal to stamp out Islamic State.
While the aims are indeed positive, the waves felt around the operation have not been doing exactly well. Iraqi-Turkish allegiance has been shaky at best, with the two respective leaders have been trading verbal blows, in particular, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan telling Iraqi PM, Haider al-Abadi, to know his place, before rattling the 8-Mile-esque mic-drop zinger of “You are not my interlocutor, you are not at my level, you are not my equivalent, you are not of the same quality as me“.
The sounds of sabre rattling played the background to thousands of supporters of a Shiite cleric rallied outside the Turkish embassy in Baghdad, in order to stop the Turkish “occupation”.
Also on The Big Smoke
- Current Affairs Wrap: Copperheaded saviour of NBN and newest latest low of Prez race
- Current Affairs Wrap: Nobility buffed off Nobel Peace Prize, plus transatlantic stupidity
- Current Affairs Wrap: The week where Auspol was crazier than its American cousin – Yeah, I said it.
The troops in question are housed inside a base outside Mosul and are 500 in number, purely to train the Iraqi and Kurdish fighters, however, (and this is where the Khubz gets spicy…) Baghdad claims that the troops are there without permission, whereas Ankara has flatly stated that they will be staying where they are.
To simplify: the Turkish troops are training the Kurds, as well as the Iraqi fighters, who are Sunni, whereas modern-day Mosul (and the Iraqi government system) is Shiite. “It’s not just an issue of sovereignty,” said Baghdad-based analyst Hadi Jalu Maraei. “This intervention has a negative effect on the whole region because there are so many ethnic groups and sects.”
All of this bubbling fondue of potential drama was compounded by the death of a US serviceman, making it the fourth casualty suffered by the US in Iraq since supporting the elimination of IS from 2014 onwards. The military have been skint on the particulars, but considering the history, and how the hunt for IS is handled by the next administration, whomever that may be (and who, for the record, have both promised swift violent action), it may well be time to watch this space and commence the grinding of the fingernails.
Also, elsewhere there was the third Presidential Debate, where nothing at all happened. Nothing at all.
Applying the aphorism of “suns out, guns out”, the ABCC took a rather peculiar turn this week, with naughty-word-enthusiast David Leyonhjelm setting the nation to lose its biscuit over the loosening of gun importation legislation, which would allow the lever-action and much maligned Adler shotgun to reach our shores. The criticism, lead by Tony Abbott of all people, was vast and the shockwaves felt in newsrooms, Twitter-wingmanned toilet trips and parliament house, was visceral – something akin to a strobe light fucking a drum kit inside a tornado.
The headlines screamed “Turnbull to send Howard gun laws to the knackers yard in horsetrading” and the like, which birthed a strange condition indeed. Our hateful outpouring was focused on the chance of more guns entering our country, and not the actual bill, for which we all remember, was the number one reason that the early election was forced upon us.
Those of you who have seen The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas would have felt the crushing grip of familiarity, not because we may have inadvertently slipped into sexual congress, but rather Turnbull could have enacted the classic, and time-honoured Governor’s sidestep:
Lightning Leyonhjelm strikes again.
Elsewhere in the lightning magnet stakes, cartoonist Bill Leak (if whose work you are unfamiliar with, please Google) has taken umbrage with being investigated by the Human Rights Commission. Leak, and the publication that he represents, The Australian, have been taken to task over their potential breaching of the infamous section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.
Leak spoke to ABC’s Lateline, saying “(I think) 18C is an abomination. Look, I can only assume that a lot of people genuinely believe that freedom of speech means the legal right to hurl abuse. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth,” before adding:
Bill Leak: “When the accusations of racism were directed at me, the only word I can use to express how I felt was just totally bewildered.”
— Lateline (@Lateline) October 20, 2016
In days since, WA’s top police officer has now spoken out saying Leak’s cartoon was an “accurate reflection” of what police officers see in the field every day.
Leak said the saga came about after counter-terrorism police advised him to move out of his house because he drew a cartoon featuring an image of the Prophet Mohammed in response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
“And now I have been singled out for special treatment by the . I sort of feel like this is just insane,” he said.
I’ve leave that up to you, TBSers.
And I’m out like three strikes. Have a lovely week.